To provide the best care for our patients, we must take care of ourselves
CEO of Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice
As part of the Our Frontline campaign to support the mental health of all those out working to protect us during the coronavirus crisis, we’ll be regularly sharing stories, tips and other thoughts about what life is like for them at the moment, in their own words.
Here, Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice CEO Kate Heaps talks about how the pandemic has impacted her team, and what she’s hoped she’s learned for the future.
It’s hard to describe to someone who hasn’t been working in health orhow difficult this year has been. The fear and uncertainty we faced in the early days and weeks, followed by the extreme of working more hours than we should, sleeping badly as we worry about going into work and using our brains to problem solve like never before has certainly taken its toll on me. I know that as I try to support my colleagues to reflect on what we’ve been through and look to a brighter and more hopeful future where new opportunities to serve our patients and communities lie, we are all so, so .
Hopefully we’ll all find a bit of spring motivation
There are some days where by home time, I just can’t find the energy to cook dinner, let alone get out there and try to be sociable with family and friends. My consumption of takeaways has risen, along with my weight and all of this I know won’t be helping my. So that’s why we’ve made this month Health and Wellbeing month at Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice. We’ve worked in partnership with our neighbours, St Christopher’s to develop a great programme of activities for everyone to enjoy, and hopefully we’ll all find a bit of spring motivation, learn some new skills and reinject a bit of joy into our lives!
It feels as though the world is beginning to get, and I’ve been left behind, that little bit more nervous than my friends and neighbours. I hope that with a focus on healthy eating, my plan to walk 100 miles in May and following the daily wellbeing tip in our Hospice calendar each day, I’ll be feeling a bit more confident as we come out of lockdown. I hope that my new found hobby of needle-felting and my re-found love of needlepoint will give me a bit of and space to slow down and breathe, allowing my body to come down off the adrenaline high I’ve been living on for the last year.
We’re definitely having more conversations already
I hope that I’ll come out of this a better leader. I’ll listen more, and try harder to give my team the time and support they need to carry our new projects. We’re definitely havingalready about our own mental health, about our vulnerabilities and the importance of rest. If we are going to be here to serve our patients, many of whom have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, we need to take better care of ourselves.
I hope that the activities we have planned for this month will help managers and colleagues to learn new skills to support one another to recover, we’ve got mindfulness training ongoing and are developing more mental health first aiders. We’re also supportingin their approach through our involvement in leadership support circles; it’s great that we’ve been so well supported by our system partners in SE London NHS in this.
I also hope that any colleagues who are still struggling, will ask for help, either by talking to their manager, a colleague, a member of their HR team or by reaching out to for support. Our frontline provides free, confidential emotional support for those working in the care sector. All care staff can call 0300 303 4434, text FRONTLINE to 85258 or visit ourfrontline.org.